Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"The Right Way"

"The Right Way"
by Tobie Abad

All through the many years in my gaming life, I've seen people talk about how World of Darkness "should" be played in a certain way.  Or about how Dungeons and Dragons is intended to be played with a certain antagonism towards the players.  Or according to others, how it is intended to be played with the chances of player death meant to be very unlikely.  I've overheard some game masters talking about how certain games should have never allowed players to read the game master guides, or how other games were meant to have a certain mood and yet "everyone plays it the wrong way."

In the many years of my gaming life, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is the fact that there is only ONE TRUE WAY that constitutes as the right way a game is played.  And that is this:

The game has to be fun for all the people concerned.

It does not matter if this means the group is playing a Call of Cthulhu game as a comedic romp filled with slapstick antics and punchlines.  It does not matter if In Nomine is played as an emo-angsty dramafest.  It does not matter if hours of a Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game are spent like some kind of dating game simulation.

If the group involved is having fun, then all is well.

But what if its against what the original game designer had in mind, you say?
That does not matter.  Really, it doesn't.  While a game designer definitely had a specific approach in mind for the game they designed, once the designer has written things down, proof-readed it and published the game, the baby is done and created.  A game designer's intentions have been signed, sealed and delivered, so to speak.  
How a gamer interprets that game, and runs it, is entirely outside the game designer's control.  Just like how they like it, or feel about it, is entirely their freedom to decide upon and express.    The creation of a game by a designer is no different from the creation of a chef of a unique new dish.  The creator has a desire to create something new or at least different from what's out there, and uses all of his or her own creative juices to come up with something cool.  But once he or she is done, and the dish is served out, anyone who opts to partake of the dish has every right to try it the way he wants, with every freedom to eat it completely, to take part of it home, to mix it up with other dishes, to season it, to throw it away.

So pardon me if I feel I can approach certain games differently from what is considered the popular way to approach them.  And sorry but I don't believe you can hold it against me if I choose to run certain games in ways that aren't quite how the creator planned it.  I don't really care if the creator feels I'm doing it wrong.

I just want to make sure that my friends and I are spending the next few hours having fun.
Because if we aren't, then the game is definitely not worth our time.


  1. I have just one rule: Engage the players.

    1. But engage can also mean getting them so frustrated rather than enjoying. :-P I kid. I get what you mean. To greater games!


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